When you decide to build an outdoor extension to your home you accomplish two very important things. First, you enhance the property and increase its value. Second, you create an area where you, your family and your guests can enjoy your natural surroundings in total comfort and convenience. But just what does it take to create great outdoor living spaces? Here are some ideas to consider.
Consider the Weather
The main reason we build our decks and pergolas is because we just love the outdoors. But weather conditions differ from place to place, and it’s a good idea to take note of the weather patterns where you intend to build. If you plan to host awesome barbies, knowing the general wind direction helps you decide where and how to build so that you can avoid having smoke blow into the house.
Create the Layout
People want to relax and have a good time. If your deck or pergola lets them enjoy these comforts then its appeal increases. Establish a layout so that traffic flows smoothly and freely within your outdoor space.
You will also want to orient your outdoor extension to take maximum advantage of the available natural light and keep energy consumption to a minimum. If you build the deck or pergola facing east then you get lots of morning sun, but you’ll get long shadows in the afternoon. If your structure faces west, you’ll have cool, shady mornings but the light and warmth ought to build up by the afternoon. You could build north or south of the main structure and enjoy natural sunlight throughout the day.
Add a Fireplace
Extend your outdoor extension’s usefulness even during the cold winter months by building a fireplace. If a fireplace is beyond the budget, then at least provide some other source of warmth, such as a portable electric heater or even a fire pit outside the structure. People just love to gather ‘round a fire. It’s one of the oldest social events in the history of mankind and having this feature greatly enhances your outdoor space.
Of course any time you have a fire underneath a roof, you have to take the necessary precautions. Make sure your fireplace or fire pit is properly installed and that there are no combustible materials anywhere near it.
Provide Comfortable Seating
People also love to sit around and get comfortable. Sitting allows us to disengage from the world around us and engage each other in enjoyable and meaningful conversation. So plan to provide abundant seating around your deck or pergola, but mind that these do not clutter up your traffic flow.
Make It Pleasing to the Eye
We humans are a visually-oriented species and so how your outdoor extension looks matters to your guests. Clean lines and a coordinated colour palette help to create visual appeal. Establish a centrepiece that draws everyone’s attention and is the area’s main decorative piece. Place brightly-coloured objects, furniture or art pieces that break the colour scheme and liven the place with spot colour. Create tabletop textures and wall accents using plants, artwork and other decorative pieces.
Provide Multitasking Furniture
No matter how much space you have for your deck or pergola, you and your guests will almost certainly wish there was more. Keep what precious little outdoor space you have from getting cluttered by letting your furniture multitask. Build storage spaces underneath benches and tables, for example.
Make the Extension Accessible
If people can easily access the deck or patio from the main house then it is more likely to get used. The chances increase significantly if the access is from a traffic point within the house, especially if that point is itself a popular or well-used feature of the house.
Create Zones Using Creative Clustering and Screens
Another way to enhance your outdoor living space is by creatively arranging furniture to set apart areas and create virtual boundaries.
Provide Storage Spaces
While everyone’s ultimate goal is to relax and enjoy, your deck or pergola can also provide practical value if you can use it to store items you need in the yard, such as gardening tools, yard cleaning equipment and surplus building materials.
Upgrade and Update Regularly
To keep your deck or pergola looking fresh and new, consider regularly updating minor details about it. Change the pillow cases, for example, or repaint a small section to change the look instantly. Add a few small decorative items and take away older ones. Updating does not have to be major and costly.